Opposition members of parliament on Thursday stylishly defeated the government side on a vote on whether the Constituency Development (CDF) should be increased or not.
The opposition had wanted the CDF to be increased from K18 million to K25 million from the current K15 million allocation per constituency.
They argued that CDF is more effective than the District Development Fund (DDF)—which is approved by ward councillors seen as potential rivals in the next parliamentary election.
The opposition MPs emphatically said the CDF has done wonders in their respective constituencies than the District Development Fund which is channelled through district councils.
They claimed district council officials abuse the district development fund.
“Taking into account price fluctuations on materials, we feel that CDF should be raised to at least K18 million to be comfortable,” said MP for Rumphi East Kamlepo Kalua (People’s Party-PP).
Nkhotakota North East MP Everson Makowa Mwale (Malawi Congress Party-MCP) said CDF was the most effective means of local development in his constituency as it had facilitated the construction of bridges and school blocks damaged by floods and hailstorms.
He said: “The same cannot be said of DDF [District Development Fund]. I don’t know where the money goes and there is no work on the ground.”
However, Minister of Finance, Economic Planning and Development Goodall Gondwe, stood his ground, telling the legislators that the government is currently going through turbulent economic times and has no money to effect the increase.
He said in addition constituencies are serviced by the district development fund.
“Civil servants are watching and accusing me of treating MPs more favourably. They, too, would like an increase. I cannot go on and on [increasing allocations] for MPs because we are accountable elsewhere, not just here,” said Gondwe.
But the opposition and the government side could not agree which forced Second Deputy Speaker Clement Chiwaya, who chaired the committee of supply in the morning, to call for a vote through roll call.
At the end, 49 voted that the CDF should not change whilst 71 voted for the increase and 70 MPs were absent or absconded in the 193 strong House.
Nonetheless, there were surprises in the way the voting went as a top Malawi Congress Party (MCP) official Joseph Njobvuyalema voted against his party’S stand and sided with the government.
Former vice president Khumbo Kachali sided with the opposition althoigh he announced his support for the DPP just before the elections so too Christopher Mzomera Ngwira sided with the government after he was sacked from PP.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :